The editorial function of any publication – whether website, newsletter, newspaper or magazine – has three main elements:
Which can be divided into “reporting”- or writing of news items – feature and comment writing. Understanding the different techniques can be helpful and important.
The checking, editing and improvement of what has been written
- Layout and design
The typefaces to be used; and how the material to be used on a page (words and pictures) is to be displayed.
This page focusses on the second of these: sub-editing
The role of the sub-editor – or ‘Sub’
As one of journalism’s ‘greats’, Allen Hutt, put it in his book ‘Newspaper Design’:
The qualities needed for sub-editing
A variety of knowledge and these skills are required so that the sub-editor can help every reader of the publication to understand quickly and easily what a story is about.
The sub-editor is in the middle between the reporter or writer and the reader and if he is uncertain as to what the story means, you can be sure that the reader will be too.
The first task is to check the story for accuracy and to ensure that it makes sense.
The next job for the sub is to write a headline – those vital words that attract the reader’s attention to the story.
It is a skill which requires some understanding of typography – the choice and use of typefaces.
The main purpose of a headline is to make the reader want to read the story.
Sub-editing also involves responsibility for the use of pictures on pages.